Let’s read that wonderful verse, “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our IMAGE, according to Our LIKENESS; let them have dominion over the fish of  the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth’” (NKJV). There are two main thoughts in connection with the word IMAGE: 1) Resemblance; and 2) Representation. We will look briefly at each of them.

1) In creating man God created beings that RESEMBLE HIM. This does NOT mean man (i.e. men and women) resembles God PHYSICALLY, for “God is a spirit” (see John 4:24) and thus He has “no physical form.” But man DOES have a “spirit” as we see in 1st Thessalonians 5:23, “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole SPIRIT, soul and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” This is what sets man apart from the vegetable and animal kingdoms, for plants have a body (Genesis 1:11-13), and animals (along with sea creatures and birds) have a body and a soul (Genesis 1:20-25…DARBY translation), but they do not have a spirit. The “spirit in man” is the highest part of his tri-part being and it allows him to think, to make choices, to be creative, and to communicate. These are also true of God, so it is our spirit that causes us to RESEMBLE GOD. We mentioned that the spirit gives man the ability to COMMUNICATE and this means that man is able to “communicate with God.” Again, other living creatures do NOT have a spirit so they are unable to speak to God. God has made them with certain “instincts” that allow them to live out their lives, but they lack the ability to know their Creator and to have spiritual fellowship with Him. We should never take for granted that we have been made “in the IMAGE of God” and that we can know Him, talk to Him, worship Him, and serve Him. Truly, man is “the Crown of God’s Creation.”

2) In creating man God created beings that REPRESENT HIM on the earth. We saw one of the ways man represents God in our verse, for we read that God gave man “DOMINION over the fish…the birds…the cattle…over all the earth…and over every creeping thing.” God created the earth (Genesis 1:1) so it belongs to Him. Psalm 24:1 declares, “The earth is the LORD’S, and all its fullness.” Yet God has given to man the responsibility to have “DOMINION over it.” In other words, He has entrusted man with the earth and expects him to REPRESENT HIM by taking care of the earth and its creatures that He created. One has said, “Man is to use it but not abuse it.” He is to use the earth for the glory of God.

Sadly, when sin came into the world through Adam (see Genesis 2:15-17; 3:6; and Romans 5:12) God’s “image was marred.” Because of sin man is now “spiritually dead” as we see in Ephesians 2:1, “And you He made alive, who were DEAD IN TRESPASSES AND SIN.” This means that men are “separated from God” and have lost their ability to truly RESEMBLE HIM. Sin causes man to think and act independently of God and they have lost communication with Him. It also means man no longer REPRESENTS HIM. For example, the earth that has been entrusted to man is no longer looked upon as belonging to God and thus they don’t acknowledge their stewardship over the earth. The writer I quoted earlier also said, “The modern crises in the earth’s environment are due to man’s greed, selfishness, and carelessness.”

The only remedy to restoring man’s fellowship with God and God’s image in him is in being “born again” (see John 3:1-7, 14-16) which results in God creating a “new man.” We saw earlier in Ephesians 2:1 those who had trusted in Christ as their Savior had been “made alive.” In Colossians 3:10 we see that believers “have put on the NEW MAN who is renewed in knowledge ACCORDING TO THE IMAGE OF HIM WHO CREATED HIM.” Has my reader been “made alive” by trusting in Christ? If so, you are indeed a “new man” (see 2nd Corinthians 5:17) and are able to RESEMBLE and REPRESENT GOD as you should.  (388.3)  (DO)